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Taiwan Church News
3336 Special Edition
Feb 1 - 7, 2016
Church Ministry


Taiwan's Strong Earth Quake On Feb 6: A Letter From PCT Associate General Secretary, Dr. Victor Wan-chi Hsu



Dear Colleagues:

I arrived back this morning from a brief trip to Geneva to find out that there had been a 6.4-scale earthquake that

struck close to the city of Tainan.

I want to thank you for your expressions of concern and prayers.

The earthquake happened as the country began a 9-day Lunar New Year celebration thus disrupting travel plans of

millions in Taiwan.

The authorities are still assessing the damage.

So far, the High Speed Rail was suspended south of Taichung till noon and suspended the entire line from Taipei

till further notice.  Most people have to use the bus causing further congestion on the highways.

Thousands of people around Tainan have no potable water.

The death toll is unavailable yet.  Around noon, the TV reported 7.

Please continue to pray for us.

I thank you, again, for your deep concern for Taiwan.

Warm regards,

Victor
 
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Taiwan Church News

3332 Edition

Jan 4 - 10, 2016

Editorial

 

Look For The Real "Peace"

 

On 15th December 2015, the ancient Chinese character "An", meaning peace, chosen by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation(JKATF), was announced as the 2015 kanji of the year at one of the three most famous temples in Japan -  Kymizutera Temple in Kyoto. After JKATF's naming of "Zeii", meaning tax, as the 2014 kanji of the year, many people predicted "Hen", meaning change, might be awarded the 2015 kanji of the year as there were so many incredible changes happened in 2015. However, after a whole year's ups and downs, the Japanese people chose "An" as the most characteristic symbol of the year 2015. Facing all kinds of anxieties, the political insecurity under the shadow of Abe administration's package of national security bills, the anxiety of personal safety threatened by international terrorism, extreme weather conditions caused by global warming and all kinds of social-economic insecurities in their daily lives, the Japanese people finally chose "An" expressing their peaceful wish for their country in 2015 in commemoration of the 70th year after World War II.

Retrieving 2015, peace is not only the sincere wish of the Japanese people, the Taiwanese people also aspire to have such a blessing. It is because the Taiwan society, under the ruling of Ma Ying-jeu administration, felt deeply insecure in a comprehensive dimensions, be it political, economical, social, juridical and civil concerns. This ineffective ruling of Ma administration disappoints the youth especially, so Taiwan society wish to see the change happened in the 2016 election. In the 2016 election of the president and lawmakers, one of the wide-ranging common thoughts is to break the majority ruling of KMT in the legislative yuan and meet the basic demands of Taiwan's civil society: congress reformation and transformative justice.

It is interesting that the 2015 kanji is finally named as "An", instead of the original predicted character as "Hen". It deserves us a further thinking, if "Hen" is picked, what kinds of change in Taiwan were urgently demand? If we just want KMT's majority ruling to be overturned and no more, then we might still be disappointed about the banal politics. Christian faith admonishes us to be strong and not fear, when we are situated in an era of change, looking prudentially for the real "peace". The real peace in the Christian faith is Jesus' arrest, crucifixion and his greetings to his panic disciples: "Peace unto you!". Such kind of peace is a resilient life confronting harsh humiliations, sustaining bodily sufferings and demonstrating tolerance and love in spirits. Daring to suffer and sacrifice, yet avoiding an easy solution of "miracles can say it all", this kind of peace insists to tell the story in love and suffering and stand by the suffered people. In this very moment of Taiwan's transition, seeing the pains and cryings of our people, our home land, the extreme  climate changes and our helpless mother earth, should we not learn from Jesus again to take up our responsibility and act our part as a citizen in Taiwan society and even in the global world? But we have to be clear in mind, this is not a path of glory but a road full of bumps and holes.

When our people earnestly expect the peace to come, should we like the false prophets say peace to them just verbally while maneuvering our interests or contesting the powers in our implicit calculation. Or, should we follow Jesus' teachings and actions, willing to be united as one and being the loyal servant to serve our church and society? If the "An"(peace) we look for is verbal and explicit only, we will soon get lost to have real faith and hope. If the foundation we try to set up is the real "An" in Christ, though it might be difficult at the very beginning, yet it can bring us the real peace which is solid, anchored, hopeful and filled with joy!

 
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Taiwan Church News

3332 Edition

Jan 4 - 11, 2016

Headline News

 

CPC's Fifth Naphtha Cracker Plant Closed In 2016 New Year Eve Countdown

 

Reported by Chen Yi-fan

 

In the midnight on 31st December 2015, when everyone in everywhere takes part in the 2016 new year eve countdown, there is also a very special assembly celebrating the closure of Chinese Petroleum Corporation(CPC) fifth naphtha cracker plant located at the Houjing area of Nanzih District of Kaohsiung City. This significant closure is finally achieved after a 28 years' environmental protests and the long-time anticipation by all local Houjing residents and some resilient ecological activists.

Organized by Taiwan's Citizen of the Earth and Houjing Social Welfare Foundation, this thanksgiving and new year eve countdown assembly is jubilantly celebrated before the Fong-ping Temple. Many local inhabitants, scholars, students and representatives of the citizen groups are very excited to witness this historical closure of CPC's fifth naphtha cracker plant, looking forward to a brand new era for Houjing during the 2016 new year eve countdown.

In 1987, CPC announced to build its fifth naphtha cracker plant in Houjing. Though a lot of environmental protests and even plebiscites were held by local residents, the plant was finished among the sounds and furies in 1990. As the plant was still confronting waves of protests after its operation in 1990, Mr Hao Bo-cun, Taiwan's prime minister then, promised that the fifth naphtha cracker plant will be shut down and removed to other location after 25 years' operation. When 2015 comes to an end, the two big chimney of the fifth naphtha cracker plant stops their fuming, it means the Houjing people is finally liberated from a quarter of century's environmental nightmare!

Professor Shih Shin-min, a renown environmental and chemical scholar in National Taiwan University, remarks that the significance of Houjing anti-fifth-naphtha-cracker-plant movement is not a local self-help environmental event only, in fact it is a precursor of many environmental protests afterwards. In the meantime, it is the first example of local plebiscite in Taiwan history.

Many important quests are also invited to participate this special assembly, including Mayor of Kaohsiung City, Ms Chen Chu, and Kaohsiung City Council Speaker, Mrs Kan Yu-cheng.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3331 Edition

December 28, 2015 - Jan 3, 2016

Editorial

 

What Is The Christian Voter Guide For Taiwan's 2016 Election?

 

After three presidential candidates exchanged their ever strongest criticism against each other in a national TV debate on December 27, a more heated discussion in the media was thus generated. At the concluding speech of this debate, Mr Eric Chu, KMT's presidential candidate, revealed the real reason why he changed his mind to delve into this election: it was all due to a critical warning, delivered by a Tamsui grandma, that Heavenly God won't forgive if you(Eric Chu) chose to get away with it! After Chu's remarks was delivered, many netizens started to hold kinds of events to "Search Tamsui Grandma" or even modified pop songs to make fun of Chu's confession. It is really a great piece of satire in this campaign!

In the same TV debate, DPP candidate Ms Tsai Ing-wen made her conclusion quoting from current Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu's political will, which was forced to write down as a death row inmate during her custody due to her "treasonous" participation of the Kaohsiung Incident in 1979, saying to all Taiwanese people as the receiver of her will (as she didn't know whom her will letter would be sent) in the head of the letter that: "May all the suffered, the chained and the oppressed could be liberated as soon as possible! May my beloved home land - all Taiwanese people could enjoy real just, fair, free and democratic lives! May the justice could be incarnated as the law, not as the means of the ruler - nonsensical and ridiculous".

What a brave and encouraging statement delivered by Mayor Chen Chu! Especially, it was fearlessly outspoken under the shadow of death! After the Tsai's conclusion of TV debate, lots of young people were very surprised to ask: why such touching stories of their respected "Hwa-Ma"(nicknamed) Chen Chu were never published in the textbook?

As a Christian citizen, what is our voter guide? How to express our social concern? How to cast out the ideals of "The Kingdom of God" in our secular world through voting? In the times of medieval Europe, once the world was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church; yet the harsh religious laws and ultra conservative thoughts made innumerable heinous prosecutions and killings, like the famous crime of witch-hunt and many more. And this is why the time of medieval Europe is usually called "Dark Age".

In the same vein, the charismatic influence promoted by modern church authorities should not be our Christian voter guide. As shown by the history of medieval Europe, the church could not realize the ideals of  "The Kingdom of God" simply by gaining the power. So, the ideal voter guide for a Christian citizen should be focused on the closeness between the candidate's ideas and the ideals of  "The Kingdom of God".

There are two periscopes of the scripture for us to have a glimpse of "The Kingdom of God". The first one is specified in Luke 4:18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."; the second is the Lord's prayer, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever. Amen!"

Dear Christian citizen fellows! Do we have sufficient wisdom to elect candidates conforming to the ideals of "The Kingdom of God"?

 
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Taiwan Church News

3331 Edition

December 28, 2015 - Jan 3, 2016

Headline News

 

Against Deadly Pollution, A Demonstration Of Anti-PM2.5 Demands Clean Air

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

An environmental demonstration, named as "National Campaign Against Air Pollution, Anti Climate Change And Save Our Health" and organized by Taiwan Clean Air Network, was launched at Taipei on December 26, 2015. Starting from the Environmental Protection Agency to the end of Ketagalan Boulevard before the Presidential Office Building, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets and asked the government to ensure a clean air.

Dr. Yu Wen-yi, a PCT member, a physician specialized in respiratory disease and the president of Taiwan Society, gave his serious warning about the danger of PM2.5(particulate matter) to the audience: "As a respiratory physician, I have to say that the existence of PM2.5 is tantamount to a explicit homicide happening among us, knowing that PM2.5 would destroy the mitochondria of the cell and cause kinds of diseases and even cancer in human body".

PM2.5 will not only causes cell catabolism in the respiration system of human body, many illness are likely to show up following the blood circulations in the body for years, said Dr. Yu. As PM2.5 is smaller than mold or pollen, it can be attached with the particles of lethal heavy metals and floats in the air for a period of time.

There are five major appeals in this national campaign for clean air: 1. Due to air pollution and climate change are issues of national security, the President should establish a special task force and act immediately. 2. Phase out coal-fueled power plant; set up the limit of PM2.5 in 2020( annual average as 15 mg/cubic meter; 24 hrs average as 35 mg/cubic meter) 3. In the third class air quality zone, total output of the fixed pollutants should be slashed off 40% in the next 4 years; there should be one air quality inspection station in each town. 4. Tax on the fixed pollutant sites and specify the control limit of Harzadous Air Pollutants(HAPs). 5. Ellevate energy efficiency, practice the life of "low carbon and green energy" and promote the policy of "Zero growth of electricity demand".

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3331 Edition

December 28, 2015 - Jan 3, 2016

Church Ministry

 

Hong Kong And Taiwan Youth Christians Exchange Views On Pastoral Care And Social Concern

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

On December 27, a seminar entitled "Hong Kong And Taiwan Youth Christians Exchange Views On Pastoral Care And Social Concern" was jointly held by PCT's TKC Front and Hong Kong Christian Institute(HKCI) at PCT Taipei College Student Center. According to HK youth Christians, more and more conservative HK churches choose to engage in a closer relationship with China.

Mr Deng Ing-huei, an official clergy of HKCI, pointed out that the so-called "HK Umbrella Revolution" actually did not gain a substantial result of democracy. The progressive churches, therefore, turned their concerns to help build "social infrastructure" or "community fellowship". For example, some HK church started to share the Eucharist with the non-Christians in local communities, said Deng, "It is a spirit of fraternal sharing, witnessed in the ritual of the Eucharist, between the Christians and his neighbors!".

Mr Deng Chang-yo, chairman of Ecumenical Youth Pastoral Platform, remarked that HK churches, who were afraid of being prosecuted before 1997, chose to develop a good relationship with China and gradually evolved into the mega-church after 1997. These HK mega-churches are under the banner of the so-called "pro-establishment".

Rev. Yao Zhe-hao, pastor of HK's Chuen Yuen church of the Church of Christ in China, straightly criticized many HK mega-churches for their closing church doors during the umbrella revolution yet claimed they prayed in-door for the protesting Hong Kong people. After this scandal, many youth Christians left the church expressing their disappointment.

Ms. Hwang Jing-hao, a PCT youth of TKC Front, reported her observation of PCT's political involvement and the conundrum of her stance in the LGBT issues. Though PCT did make a great contribution in Taiwan's self-determination movement and democratic transformation, there were lots of hesitation or even back-slash actions on social issues like the LGBT rights to marriage, said Hwang.

Ms. Chen Pei-yi, director of PCT Taipei College Student Center, frankly admitted that the conflicts of theological thoughts between PCT's college student centers and local churches had never been disappeared in recent years, especially on the LGBT issues. Chen said, PCT needed to reflect a strange phenomenon: why the PCT's 2014 pastoral letter, which stated her strong opposition to LGBT, was elevated like a confession creed?

"Now it's more and more difficult to call the students taking the streets and showing their social concerns", said worryingly Chen. The youth have to place the so-called "social anxiety" in their minds first, then the critical significance of faith and social issues could become relevant after a period of reflections, advised Chen, "But this ministry of consciousness awakening could not be done in the mega-churches, as every youth is an unique individual. Keep a continuous dialogue with the youth is therefore a must!".

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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